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On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks (ALA Notable Books for Adults) Paperback – Illustrated, November 5, 2013
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“Simon Garfield is charming company. His passion for the graphic carries the reader along […] On the Map offers a world of revelation.”
“Mr. Garfield's book serves an immense need, connecting the latest geocacher with both the ancient art and modern science of the cartographer. Each may benefit from learning how the other approaches maps. Mr. Garfield uniquely provides that bridge.”
–Pittsburgh Post Gazette
“There is a great deal that is good and charming and fun about this book.”
–Simon Winchester, The Washington Post
“Garfield has a knack for creating high-spirited, erudite and user-friendly books on subjects that may seem crashingly dull to all but a few fanatics. […] On the Map is a treasure: exhilarating, witty, compulsively readable and just plain fun.”
“A collection of marvelous anecdotes that explore the role maps have played in shaping human culture since ancient times.”
“Garfield’s new book details the evolution of cartography and why maps play such a vital role in our lives. […] his reverence for the form shines through vividly.”
“Garfield’s interest in the human side of mapmaking— the personalities, anecdotes, curiosities—is what makes On the Map such an enjoyable read. […] vastly entertaining.”
"Garfield is a wonderful writer who deploys suspense to excellent effect, making each chapter read like a delightful short story or mini-mystery; his book speaks of vast, hidden depths."
“A vivid foray into the romance of maps. [...] A fine, fun presentation of the brand of cartography that continues to whet our imaginations.”
“Engaging …full of little conversation pieces”
–Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Enlightening and impossible to put down [. . .] The length and breadth of his scholarship are staggering, while the witty tone makes for the most convivial of literary guides."
"Readers will enjoy this romp through 16,000 years of mapmaking."
–Library Journal, starred review
"Delightful... If maps be the fuel of wanderlust, read on."
–From the foreword by Dava Sobel, author of Longitudes
“There couldn’t be anyone better to write about our love for maps than Simon Garfield, who is a master at unearthing strange facts and mixing them with a lively personal narrative...fascinating.”
–Giles Foden, Condé Nast Traveller (UK)
–Daily Mail (UK)
"Garfield has a genius for being sparked to life by esoteric enthusiasm and charming readers with his delight."
"Simon Garfield’s new book is a rollicking sweep through map history, packed with curiosities and written with verve . . . On the Map will inspire you to take a trip to somewhere new, buy an antique globe to chart the rise and fall of empires, or just dig out a tatty orange Ordnance Survey Explorer map and let its filigree of contour lines evoke a long-forgotten walk in the rain . . . a great book."
–Independent on Sunday (UK)
“A pub quizzer’s dream . . . Rather than over-romanticise the experience of map-reading, Garfield allows his varied, expertly researched stories to speak for themselves, and in so doing helps us see that there are fewer things in life more useful, rewarding and beautiful than a map that does what it’s supposed to. Perhaps if Apple had read the book a few months ago, today’s iPhone users would have a much better idea of where they’re going.”
–Daily Telegraph (UK)
Praise for Just My Type:
“This is a smart, funny, accessible book that does for typography what Lynne Truss’s best-selling Eats, Shoots & Leaves did for punctuation: made it noticeable for people who had no idea they were interested in such things.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"An engaging look at the world of fonts. […] Just My Type urges us to put on the brakes and take in the scenery as far as typography goes. Whether you're a graphic designer or a layperson with no background in this area, reading what Garfield has to say will change the way you perceive the written word forever."
—The Los Angeles Times
“Reading Simon Garfield’s Just My Type can transform your daily life into an endless quest for knowledge of the typefaces in which signs, books, magazines, newspapers, etc. are set.”
—The Washington Post
“Highly entertaining … Garfield takes readers on a rollicking tour of the world of typography, from book jackets to road signs, TV shows to computers.”
“A deliriously clever and entertaining book”
—The Boston Globe
“Informative, delightful — and essential reading for word geeks everywhere.”
—The Seattle Times
“Lively […] intriguing […] a cheeky book about the human side and our reaction to fonts.”
—Seattle Post Intelligencer
“This is a book for typography lovers who just can't get enough of their favorite fonts. In this well-researched book, Garfield takes a look back at the history of typefaces and how they've influenced consumers throughout the years. Using specific examples, Garfield shows just how powerful different fonts can be.”
“For typomaniacs […] who can't rest until they've identified a font, Garfield's engaging history of letter design will be eye candy.”
—The Huffington Post
“Garfield’s romping history (with multitype text) is zestfully informative.”
“Garfield dances across 560 years of typographic history, sprinkled with fascinating anecdotes and vignettes, to infect you with his own inability to walk past a sign without identifying the typeface and some curious factoid about it. Funny and fascinating, irreverent and playful yet endlessly illuminating, the book is an absolute treat for the type-nerd, design history geek, and general lover of intelligent writing with humor.”
“A thoroughly entertaining, well-informed tour of typefaces”
A “lively romp through the history of fonts. Garfield’s evocative prose entices us to see letters instead of just reading them.”
“Whether you’re a hardcore typophile or a type-tyro, there’s something here for you: be it the eye-opening revelations of Eric Gill’s utter and complete perversity, or the creation of the typeface that helped Mr. Obama gain entrance to the White House.”
"Just My Type is an entertaining romp through the world of type design. Mr. Garfield explains the angst and the joy of typography; this is a great book for design geeks to press into the hands of the uninitiated in hopes of conversions, like missionaries with a religious tract."
—Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife
“With wit, grace and intelligence, Simon Garfield tells the fascinating stories behind the letters that we encounter every day on our street corners, our bookstore shelves, and our computer screens. As someone who's worked with typography for over three decades, I kept finding lots of surprises. So will anyone who cares about the culture of reading and writing and this most ubiquitous of design forms.”
—Michael Bierut, Partner, Pentagram Design, New York
"There is even a photograph of a quick brown fox literally jumping over a lazy dog. What a clever, clever book."
“Did I love this book? My daughter's middle name is Bodoni. Enough said.”
"Mapping out the historical intricacies of the ampersand and the short-lived interrobang, the serif and the sans serif, Simon Garfield reveals an invisible world behind the printed word. From Trajan's Column to the ubiquitous Helvetica to the latest typefaces, like Dirtyfax, the lives of the designers and the letters they've created have never been more clearly detailed with so much flair."
—Jessica Kerwin Jenkins, author of Encyclopedia of the Exquisite
About the Author
- Publisher : Avery; Illustrated edition (November 5, 2013)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1592407803
- ISBN-13 : 978-1592407804
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.6 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #524,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It also covers much more information. Mapping is not just for geographical items. While those comprise the majority of the book, there is other kinds of information that is much more easily visualized when it is mapped, and the book explores those as well. For instance, the different regions of the brain. The book touches on Phrenology but then comes back to reality with an exploration of brain mapping.
Another topic that comes up multiple times is that it appears that mapping skills are dwindling since we have GPS satellites and receivers at our beck and call. Why carry an unwieldy set of paper maps around when you can simply tap on the screen of your phone or the device in your car, and it will take you to where you want to go? The future of mapping has simply moved to other areas, according to the author, as he points out to the popularity of various computer games and other human activities that require mapping to get the full enjoyment from them.
The book is full of various anecdotes that involve maps in one way or another. Whether it is an interview / look at rare map dealers, or even delving into the sordid affairs of rare map thieves, if it involves mapping of some kind, you can pretty well be assured that it is covered in the book.
Even schematic maps take their turn in this book with the story of how the London Underground map was created and why it is such a successful invention. Also included are the ancillary stories of the humorous maps that were created and resembled that well known map.
While this is a strength of the book, it can also be considered a negative part. I found some parts of the book to require slogging through it. With a heft of over 460 pages, it did take me a while to read through all of it, especially because of those parts that really required me to be determined to finish them and the concentration and strength of will to make it through them. Another oddity is that there are several mistakes in the map that adorns the inside covers. For some reason, Israel is shown as being to the East of Dubai; Buffalo is South of New York City and so on. What’s with that?
Overall, it’s an Ok book. It caught my attention via a review of it that I read in Smithsonian magazine and so I purchased it, but after working my way through it, I am not sure I should have. It’s just an OK effort unless you are really really into maps. I’m not ,so maybe I’m the problem?
I found some of the last ~1/3 to be less interesting. However, I must admit that Google Maps, and maps of the brain are every bit as impactful on our civilization as some of those that allowed for exploration of the Silk Road and the New World. Read as much as you like, then ditch the rest.
The verb "to map" can be used in many different ways. Of course, the most popular way is "to map" geographical places, but you can also "map" diseases, family histories, economic development, and much, much more. Garfield writes about all these in his new book, but primarily focuses on mapping geographical places. He traces the development of maps from prehistoric ages, paying close attention to the various expeditions devoted to mapping what was then thought to be unknown. Expeditions like Lewis and Clark in the US northwest, the various expeditions to the polar regions, and the expeditions to find the China from Europe by going west. Garfield points out that by 1492, most geographers knew the world was round; the exact size and what lay where was still the missing component.
Simon Garfield is a lively writer, and he addresses both history and geography in his book. He writes about all the places that appeared on early, post-Columbus maps that simply didn't exist. A range of mountains in west Africa and several non-existent islands in the Pacific were the result of mangled streams of information. And the state of California was shown as an island in many early maps of the area. One of the most interesting things is to take a look at early maps of any area and see how detailed the shorelines were but how blank or underdeveloped the internal areas of countries and continents were. The book also has a really cool front and back piece; a map of the world with a super-imposed map of the type of the London tube system.
Garfield's book is full of little-known facts and explanations of well-known facts that would be of interest to most any map-addicts. It's a super read.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in history.
Top reviews from other countries
For example, there is probably no more important topic in the history of map making than the Mercator projection. However, rather than try to explain how the projection works and how it was developed, this book merely states that it happened. Likewise with triangulation. It is described as a way of measuring distances using trigonometry, but doesn't try to explain how it works.
This could have been forgiven if the book were more entertaining, but the author really seemed to be struggling to fill up space - resorting in some of the later chapters to the tours of celebrity homes in Hollywood and the worlds created by computer games.
Overall, this struck me as a book by someone who had the topic recommended to him by his publisher and not one written by a man who knows and loves his subject.
Covering both the importance of map-making, their impact on exploration and even a section on Sir Patrick Moore pondering the mapping of the planet Mars. This enjoyable read also looks at how we unconsciously rely on them today and the impact global positioning systems have on our abilities to comprehend maps.
This is a fab read which really brings history to life.
I personally would have liked a chapter on projections and how we came to view the world as we do. This is touched on throughout the book but a dedicated chapter (sub-chapter) with schematics to illustrate the point would have been very useful.